Doc, what’s up with snooping?
Pediatrician paranoia runs deep
By Michael Graham
Thursday, October 4, 2007
They’re watching you right now.
They counted every beer you drank during last night’s Red Sox [team stats] game.
They see you sneaking out to the garage for a smoke.
They know if you’ve got a gun, and where you keep it.
They’re your kids, and they’re the National Security Agency of the Nanny State.
I found this out after my 13-year-old daughter’s annual checkup. Her pediatrician grilled her about alcohol and drug abuse.
Not my daughter’s boozing. Mine.
“The doctor wanted to know how much you and mom drink, and if I think it’s too much,” my daughter told us afterward, rolling her eyes in that exasperated 13-year-old way. “She asked if you two did drugs, or if there are drugs in the house.”
“What!” I yelped. “Who told her about my stasher, I mean, ‘It’s an outrage!’ ”
I turned to my wife. “You took her to the doctor. Why didn’t you say something?”
She couldn’t, she told me, because she knew nothing about it. All these questions were asked in private, without my wife’s knowledge or consent.
“The doctor wanted to know how we get along,” my daughter continued. Then she paused. “And if, well, Daddy, if you made me feel uncomfortable.”
Great. I send my daughter to the pediatrician to find out if she’s fit to play lacrosse, and the doctor spends her time trying to find out if her mom and I are drunk, drug-addicted sex criminals.
We’re not alone, either. Thanks to guidelines issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics and supported by the commonwealth, doctors across Massachusetts are interrogating our kids about mom and dad’s “bad” behavior.
We used to be proud parents. Now, thanks to the AAP, we’re “persons of interest.”
The paranoia over parents is so strong that the AAP encourages doctors to ignore “legal barriers and deference to parental involvement” and shake the children down for all the inside information they can get.
And that information doesn’t stay with the doctor, either.
Debbie is a mom from Uxbridge who was in the examination room when the pediatrician asked her 5-year-old, “Does Daddy own a gun?”
When the little girl said yes, the doctor began grilling her and her mom about the number and type of guns, how they are stored, etc.
If the incident had ended there, it would have merely been annoying.
But when a friend in law enforcement let Debbie know that her doctor had filed a report with the police about her family’s (entirely legal) gun ownership, she got mad.
She also got a new doctor.
In fact, the problem of anti-gun advocacy in the examining room has become so widespread that some states are considering legislation to stop it.
Last year, my 7-year-old was asked about my guns during his physical examination. He promptly announced to the doctor that his father is the proud owner of a laser sighted plasma rifle perfect for destroying Throggs.
At least as of this writing, no police report has been filed.
“I still like my previous pediatrician,” Debbie told me. “She seemed embarrassed to ask the gun questions and apologized afterward. But she didn’t seem to have a choice.”
Of course doctors have a choice.
They could choose, for example, to ask me about my drunken revels, and not my children.
They could choose not to put my children in this terrible position.
They could choose, even here in Massachusetts, to leave their politics out of the office.
But the doctors aren’t asking us parents.
They’re asking our kids.
Worst of all, they’re asking all kids about sexual abuse without any provocation or probable cause.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has declared all parents guilty until proven innocent.
And then they wonder why we drink.
Michael Graham hosts a talk show on WTKK 96.9 FM.